It's taken a long time to realize that some of the things that we humans did in the past are not the best practices for a healthy environment. Most everyone is now aware that it is important to include environmentally friendly practices in all that we do. This is as true for auto repair shops as it is for our households.
How can an auto repair shop reduce the negative impact on the environment?
Here are some good practices that an auto shop can adopt:
Recycling antifreeze, oils, lubricants, air conditioning refrigerant, tires, oil filters are pretty much obvious and often required by law, but what about cardboard, paper, plastics, metal, fluorescent bulbs, glass and other objects so easy to just dump into the garbage bin? It takes a bit of time to sort everything, but if you have a system set up, then it only takes a few minutes every day.
In addition to recycling your own shop use the products, make a return center for items such as used automotive lubricating oils, filters, antifreeze, used plastic oil and antifreeze containers and all types of batteries. In our shop we gladly accept liquids up to 20 Liters maximum, in sealed containers during business hours. It just makes good sense and provides convenience to customer who may otherwise have to go out of their way way to get rid of these items.
While we do not dispute the method or intention, we are not convinced it is a viable option for sophisticated modern engines like most cars have today. A better alternative is to have the waste oil removed by a government certified hauler to be consumed as fuel in large industrial plants. This gives the oil a new life and it is re-used in a responsible way.
Good Use of Recycled Products
Where it makes sense to use recycled products we do, for example recycled engine antifreeze and coolants where the process is up to standards of the original equipment manufacturer of the vehicle it is going to be used in. This is about two thirds of the coolant we use.
Let's face it, automobiles are mobile hazardous waste generators, even when they are sitting still. We have not found a way yet to achieve a near zero auto carbon footprint but it is our responsibility to reduce that negative impact as much as possible. That responsibility is shared by the car owner as much as it is by the shop that services that car. A car running in top shape does more than just reduce carbon emissions, a car service shop that adopts environmentally friendly practices contributes to a community's well being.